I’m never gonna be who I thought I would

All through our lives we’ve been taught to make a difference, do more, be more!

And then it gets to a point- and here may be it’s the impending Birthday Me talking, where you worry- have I actually achieved what I was supposed to have… or was it all just castles in the sky created by my indulgent, loving parents (who btw are throwing a birthday dinner for me tonight- so yay!)… so I decided to take stock!

Well I started out right, topped school, went to Stanford and then I left Stanford prematurely to start acting. Interesting choice!

I started doing films, and started a Production house. One film became seven; the production house put on some truly memorable plays. Each play made me learn to give back to society and be really grateful as to where I was.

I got sick, got Multiple Sclerosis, was told I wouldn’t move but Docs ain’t got nothin on my stubbornness! So up I was and back at work!

I wrote and here I shall boast a bit (allow me, it’s my blog) a truly exceptional play where we toured the world, won numerous World Awards and gave lots of money to a cause I truly supported.

I found a tumour in the pituitary in my brain- didn’t waste a second ,started another company and an Not for profit charity, moved offices.

I have directed TV, commercials, digital, short films and anything that has a story- I have learnt to tell.

I have loved one dog with all my soul and another takes up my heart.

I see my family regularly and it’s still not enough; spend every waking moment I can stalking my husband, who annoys me , infuriates me, challenges me, engages me and loves me.

I’ve not done anything I planned to do when I was a child- but I’ve done so much more than I dreamed of. I’ve lived a life that I couldn’t have imagined because you can’t write lives like mine…

I may not be who I was but I am so excited to see who I will become…so as I countdown the days to my birthday…I’m going to celebrate who I have become with all those who’ve made me who I am on this crazy journey we call life.

P.s. (Palat says)-: You may not be where you think you want to be; but you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now!


Sour Puss & Kotak Mahindra Bank

So off to the bank we went. Adulting is hard even when you are older. It seems everyone and here, by everyone you really mean your parents,- can do stuff way better than you! How they got so good at fixing everything is beyond me… but I decided let’s give it a try and handle some bank work on my own!

It seemed simple enough… we were paying money back to a bank- an absolutely unheard concept for most but since the amounts weren’t sufficient for us to do a Mallya or Modi and buy a new citizenship, rant about the fact that we ‘wanted to pay a debt back’ on twitter and afford a mansion in Europe- I figured let’s get out of debt. So off we were to Kotak Mahindra Bank, and sitting in front a sullen woman , who seemed unhappy that work was being given to her on a day she’d rather eat lays and glower. My chirpy (yes that happens occasionally) attitude annoyed her and she moved us away from her line of vision and then recommended (and I use the word kindly) that we leave. But we want to pay back a debt , we informed her. Well, the paper work was going to be an issue- i.e. she hadn’t printed them out yet , so may be we could take our selves out and come back later. While we changed schedules around to accommodate her, a gentleman who looked worn and tired brought paper work to her. “That’s it , right Ma’am, I’m done? Loan free?” Sour puss (my name for her) glared at him as if he’d broken the system by doing his own printouts and then grudgingly said yes. We congratulated him but the poor man was almost in tears– ” it’s been so hard…. just to give them the money and close the loan ,” he said.

And that’s when I realised. Every day we have a choice- a choice on how we are viewed. This man had probably taken a loan for his dream home. Today should have been the happiest day of his life- now that his home was finally his and yet she chose to make it hard on him. Instead of being his supporter, his cheerleader and his helper- she chose to vilify herself.

We get a choice every single day to make an impact on someone’s life- to make a difference. That difference can be either negative or positive- but the choice is solely ours.

Your life impacts others. Your choices impact them. Your behaviour impacts them. We can’t live selfishly unless we’re in a box. When you converse with someone don’t just turn up- actually show up. Be present and be aware of your impact.

So what happened to my interaction with Sour Puss? Well she pushed us out of the branch and we returned (more because of that gentleman’s warning). She remained sullen and upset when we now had done the hard job of print outs for her. She made us sign all the wrong sheets for her own record and had to then spend the next day coming to our office and correcting all her mistakes.

She made an impression on me but like the gentleman earlier- she made a terrible one. But she also inspired me to start being present during my interactions with people because I want all those that I meet to feel that I am present and that I want to be there. In a terribly negative situation, I learnt something…though more often than not I wish you could just learn life lessons from fortune cookies… not miserable encounters 🙂

P.s. (Palat says)-: Be grateful for the people you meet. Learn from them- not just what to do but what never to do.

Don’t just Turn Up!

The last week was a medley of emotions for me… At first I had the Low- MS Lows are a little tough for me not because of Multiple sclerosis but because I find it difficult to get out of the funk. Add to that the miserable diet and crazy exercise routine continued. But what really got me is the fact that in life- most people just turned up for life and let it happen. They didn’t actually SHOW UP!

Now here’s the difference- turning up is what we do. We turn up to school, turn up to our job, turn up to parties or social engagements- but showing up- that’s totally different! Showing up is recognising you are there and going on and making a difference! It’s about making sure the day is better than when you came in… It’s about challenging yourself to do more, be more and really and truly enjoying and being present in the moment!

Sure, we can get through most of life on autopilot by just turning up. But who wants to go through moments, years and decades not having actually been or tried to have been the best version of themselves.

My chat at work was all about that- I have a team that I hope I can inspire, lead and learn from that I hope will all be able to look back at each day and feel that they made a difference or that they achieved something- anything. I hope that they enjoy each day for the uniqueness it brings and remember that every day brings opportunity and is a gift that they cannot get back—ever.

Once I started spring cleaning those who just were turning up as opposed to showing up- my mood changed cos you can’t allow the drifters to dictate your mood; you have to allow those that are present to. They deserve that and you deserve that too! The husband thinks that sometimes I expect too much from those in my life- but I believe that it’s my life and surely I can work to make it the best version of my life it can be! And so I will be there and present for this who are there and present for me.

We can’t ‘Groundhog Day’ our life. And to truly enjoy the every moment – surround yourself with people who also choose to be present- not just there but to be active and present in your life!

P.s. (Palat says)-:Don’t let people speed date your life- they must be present in your life and you in theirs. Don’t look at a day as something that must end- look at it as something you must be present for.

Demystifying the Drama

And the first month ended… it took its own sweet time, but it ended. It had all the makings of a semi successful potboiler, with lows and highs, new meetings and friendships all perfectly tied up with even a song and dance thrown in for good measure!

The diet held, the exercise continued strong and inspite of a few bouts of ill health; all seemed bearable.

My insight this month was all about human behaviour. I started spending more time with people, learning to laugh more and observe more and that helped my writing and characterisations so much! I wrote more than I ever have in a long time.

I also demystified people and Clients. May be I’m just getting old but I realised much of what happens even in meetings has nothing to do directly with you. We come to work with our own baggage- a sick relative, bad night of no sleep or a fight with the taxi driver or spouse and well sometimes meetings and people (including you) are just collateral damage! I’ve probably done this numerous times myself at work where a bad morning has defined the magnitude of my annoyance at work with a co-worker and now I’ve decided to call it out. So as much as possible, I warn people in the morning if I’ve had a trying day or if my mood is off so that they learn that I may need space and that much of what I say may not be as harsh as it seems.

I , also learnt to trust people a bit more. No I’m not at that stage where I am giving you my life story and deepest fears just yet ; but maybe and this is still a maybe; not every one is out to get me and may be I might make a friend or two!

Onwards to Valentines month my favourite date , except for my birthday where all my mush seems acceptable and all my excessive love of love seems to be ok… see you next Friday… Have a great weekend

P.s. (Palat says)-: In my pursuit of my studying of human behaviour, I have a party this weekend… I’ll let you know more about my poor unsuspecting guinea pigs next week

The Great GIVE UP

And so the last week of January draws up and before you know it all the ‘new puppy feeling’ of 2019 has gone and it’s been replaced by -‘oh my God , it’s another year!’ This was never seen more clearly when we walked in to an almost empty gym realising that a whole bunch of resolutions had been broken and more than a few gym memberships would now go in to storage!

How do you keep going on… when everything inside you is ready to shut shop and sleep ? Or how do you continue a day’s drudgery when you are dreaming of a vacation, a new adventure or even just a change!

My theory is that we should take each day as a separate item- something with a beginning, middle and end. By making it part of the larger year, or even our larger life- it’s just a drop in the ocean but if that day can be all you are focussing on then the morning could be filled with the excitement of January; lunch could be filled with gossip and the chatter of a May summer vacation and the end of the day can be filled with candle light and warmth of December… And you can go thru all these emotions and feelings within just a single day.

We choose to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of life.

We choose to just slot each day in a matchbox and forget about it’s sameness.

We choose to not focus on the moment but instead plan for a future that may or may not happen.

It’s up to us to change our choices.

To most of us, a day is just a dozen meetings.

This week , I made a meeting more than that.

At a script narration, I chose to be in that space at that time. The discussion was riveting. The people were curious , questioning and interesting. I was focused , in the moment and alive and I remember every second of it.

It wasn’t just another meeting… it was almost tangible and how can you give up on experiences like that!

Life is a bunch of experiences. We can choose to be passive watchers as the roller coaster rides by or we can get on and enjoy the ride. I , for one, have always said yes to rollercoasters!

P.s. (Palat says)-: A lot of what I write is therapeutic for me – at that time, on that day. So I’m so glad that people are connecting. We’re all in this journey together… it’s important to learn on the way! Henceforth however this will be a FRIDAY BLOG only…as now my writing skills have been called on by a few content hubs and brands… so lots of writing, lots of opinions, lots of stories and hopefully lots of luck! SEE YOU FRIDAY!

Friend me?

It has never been easy for me to make friends…’Shocking!’ those of you who know me well will laugh! I mean I’m loud, opinionated, bossy and extremely goal-driven. That doesn’t leave a bunch of space in my life for relationships or friendships! And since I started working very young… having done my first film at 17, I never really had much of a college life or those life-long friendships people keep harping over!

Getting into films and TV young was great! It also meant lots of parties and lots of superficial acquaintances which made my ‘choice’ of ‘friendlessness’ the smart choice. And once I found my ‘Crab’ -( yes that shall be the husband’s name for today), I didn’t seem to need anyone else. He understood my insecurities, he embraced my weirdness and he even seem to like (or at least put up with) my bossiness! So from FOMO (Fear of missing out) I began enjoying my Crab and started loving JOMO (the Joy of missing out). Loud parties were replaced with game nights. Filmy parties became movie marathon nights and pub hopping was replaced with traveling to different countries and exploring them together…

But then this year, I started wondering that in all my JOMO whether I had actually even tried creating more than my single friendship? Had I actually even given people a chance? In all my fear of people not liking or caring for me had I just consciously avoided even the chance to get to know them?

Some friends had had babies. Babies became children and mothers’ groups were a great excuse to form relationships. Those who’d moved in to the city away from family needed a support system and hence were forced to find friends… In my little self sufficient Puppy- Crab world since I had never been forced to look- had I automatically just stayed in my shell?

So along with the new food plan, I decided to create a new social plan and decided with the Universe that I was going to start creating friendships…Out of school and not in the playground any more , I was excited about rekindling old friendships and learning to start sharing my life with people and sharing their lives too! And I was right. Now without the childish insecurities and without the petty school rivalry, I started afresh with relationships and friendships and I’m having fun!

From laughing through the night where we were supposed to be at the ‘most happening night spot’ and realising that we were 1 of only 10 people at the bar; to being sent chilli chicken by a friend just because she knew I needed spice ‘now’, to getting a call on a Saturday morning from another cause ‘she missed me,’ reconnecting has never been more fun!

Who knows… though they say the friends you make when you’re young will stick by you.. I’m okay learning how to make friends later too… After all every person needs a village… and Mr. Crab and me seem to be finding some really cool Village People!

P.s. (Palat says)-: You’re never too old to learn something new and for me it is learning to put myself out there and trust. It’ll be a steep learning curve… but I always was a front-bencher ! 🙂

Where Am I now?

So yesterday while watching the deviously delightful ‘Lucifer’ on Netflix I asked the husband the existential question- “do you think God has a plan for all of us…” He answered in the affirmative- more of a grunt, because I had obviously disturbed his ‘serial-watching- while reading football news on twitter’ evening with a far too serious question…

That got me thinking- not about the highly distracted way my husband watches Tv, but if there is really a plan; then are we really at the place where supposed to be?

I wondered , whether I should be or could be doing more?

Should I be richer, smarted, stronger, fitter?

Should I have made better choices, better friends, better decisions?

Are any of those choices actually in my own hands?

Taking a few seconds, I rethought my whole life and all the ‘choices’ I had made and wondered if I’d do it all differently.

Maybe I would.

But then again, understanding that I am a product of all those choices; and I have had an interesting full life- full of love and drama, pain and joy, happiness and sorrow – I realised that it’s been a good journey… I mean , if my life were a film; I think we’d have quite a good audience including me…

So if God truly does have a plan for all of us then he’s a pretty great script writer… because he ensures that no 2 scripts (lives) are the same…

Also it seems a comforting feeling to know that, even when I’m a bit lost; someone knows the way home for me…